3-Series (E46, E90)Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.
I'm getting ready to graduate from college this spring, and have been looking at the 3 series' as probable options for a new vehicle. With my financial situation, I would be able to get any of the three choices, however obviously things would be easier the cheaper they are. An M3 might make things a little tight.
A little about myself:
I'm 21 years old, and am a car enthusiast. I enjoy modifying vehicles, however I am definately not a ricer (nor would I ever want to be). I enjoy classy mods - stuff that looks/performs well. The number 1 thing I look for in a vehicle is that it's unique. That is probably why I like doing mods. The worst thing I could think of would be to go buy a new M3, and 2 weeks later another guy down the road buys one.
From a realistic standpoint, which of these three vehicles would be better for me? An M3 would need fewer modifications, but requires greater upfront costs. The 325 would most likely be modded extensively, adding cost down the road. The 330 would be somewhere in between, as the performance would be sufficient for a while, but I would still like to upgrade the appearance. How much HP would be reasonable to expect from a modded 325 or 330 as compared to an M3? What is the difference in the suspensions, and is the E46 aftermarket large enough to support upgrading the suspension to near M3 quality? I think the M3 would be the ideal vehicle, but I'm afraid it would be a lot of money to spend, only to replace many of the parts for aftermarket.
Yeah I think if you can get an M3 do it - you wont regret it. You could keep an M3 for many years and be totally happy with it - and there are plenty of mods you can do.
Or you could take things slower and get an older (01-02) 330 for a year or two and then upgrade. But for like 10 grand less than a new m3 you could also get the new 04 ZHP comes stock with 235 HP plus a great racing setup.
If you can get a 330 or a M3 I see no reason to even consider a 325...
Congradulations on your upcoming graduation and sick new bimmer
All 3 are great choices. If your into performance, the more $ your willing to spend, the happier you'll be.
Don't listen to those who say the 325i is slow - they probably own a 330 and the performance difference is not that much. Noticeable yes, but certainly not drastic. I have a loaner car right now, a 330i auto, and it's kind of a dog. Pretty disappointing, but I know this is because it's an auto. Whatever choice you make, I'd recommend a manual. As for the 3, the biggest jump in performance is between the 330 and the M3. Keep in mind, you can get nearly all the same options on a 325 as a 330 (sport package, premium package, cold weather package, xenons, etc.)
I'd call your insurance agent before anything. Insurance on the M3 for a 21 year old won't be cheap.
Oh, and all of them can be modded, but it's rather expensive modding BMW's and the performance gains aren't going to be that big unless you go FI. Intake, exhaust, software, pullies, etc. won't make any night and day differences on the E46.
That's what it says when I click the enlarge button... I'm using FireFox, in IE it just opens as a broken image?? Am I missing something?
Back on topic, I'm starting to think a 330 is probably my best bet... It is more affordable, and by the time I add a supercharger, some suspension work, and a body kit, it will be as nice as an M3... I'd rather save the upfront costs of buying the M3, and spend it on doing it my way.
ZHP has 235bhp, the M3 286 BHP but the top of the range M3 CSL is around 350 BHP and is the rarest of the lot. It has also considerably lighter than the M3. It obviously costs the most but I doubt you will ever need to do any modifications. Being so rare it will hold it's value better than any of the others.
By the way, The M3 CSL eats Porsches for breakfast.
I have an e46 328i and i love it i am just about to sink some ccfl angel eyes into it and some other performance parts (intake,shark, etc.) and i would personally go for either an e36 m3 or an e46 m3 or an e46 328i coupe. Whatever you do if you dont get m3 get the sport package. For a massive gian in hp and torque you could shelll out like 7grand and drop a supercharger from bavarian autowerks and get like 100 hp.
Originally posted by gotclout@Dec 13 2004, 10:50 AM what are possible gains of say supercharging the 225? its stock 170 hp right?
I take it you mean 325 - 170hp is the 323's, 184hp is 325.
An SC on a 323/325 (using AA as example) puts you around 270hp, give or take a few hp. Biggest bang for the buck you can get on a BMW short of specialized turbos, which you'd better have a good mechanic in your back pocket.. (AA's are bolt-on SC's, considered the safest SC for a BMW). Turbo's will significantly reduce engine life, as they usually require more PSI than our engines can take(stock), for optimal 'thrust'. SC's are generally safe, running within the psi limits of the engine it's designed for.
AA's SC is on sale for E46 models for $4900 right now, that's 1K off the normal price (consider them paying for your SC install - about 14 manhours=1K)
You can do other things to boost hp/torque as well - Cams, exhaust, pullies (dunno if this is an option if you put a SC in), and the 'poor man's turbo' a diff swap (not a hp/tq gainer, but can knock .3-.5 off your times depending on what you have now, and what you move too - almost effective as a turbo, hence the 'poor man's turbo' comment)
But if you're buying new, you're crazy to mod it like that, get a 330 and sit on it, and enjoy. If you want a BMW and want to mod it, get an older 330 or last-run 328.
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